Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Senior Column Writing

I'm sick, sore throat, and should definitely be asleep by now. I have detention in a mere 5 and a half hours for ditching a period on ditch day. It's ok though. I'm actually looking forward to detention because it's themed and we'll be in underwater gear.

I'm struggling right now with my senior column. I think I'm going to title it "On Failure and Expectations." So naturally it begins with descriptions of all my failures at Harvard-Westlake. But I'm not sure where I want to go with it from there. I really only see two possible paths. There's one, less appealing at the moment, which goes "I failed, but it's ok because I'm happy anyways, in spite of, or because of my failings." The other, at the moment more appealing, goes "I failed, but it's ok because I graduate having learned this important life changing lesson."

But of course despite gravitating to the latter option, I really have no idea what lesson I learned. And part of me tells me I should probably have known that before even beginning to write. I wish I could write a rambling, stream of conciousness blog post-esque column. All I got right now is the description of my failings and the quick interlude that leads me into my sermonizing on the lesson. But ack! What lesson?

This column is pretty important. It's my last one, hence senior column. Instead of going in the normal opinion section of the paper, (the Chronicle by the way, found at the senior columns go in the special senior section of the paper, along with the matriculation list and a fun cartoony recap of the past six years. And the columns are due to Ms. Neumeyer, the Chronicle's adviser, 4th period tomorrow. I just feel like it'd be good to finally turn something in on-time for the paper and for school. I've definitely missed more deadlines than I've made for the paper. It would just be a great way to go out to avoid that stress and finish the column on-time.

Why'd I pick failure to write on? Great question! It's not nearly as self-pitying or deprecating or something else bad as it might sound. It actually feels in a strange way, liberating, to be able to go out and admit everything that I did not do. Get to air out my conscience. Clean the skeletons out of the closet in a way. I think the topic first occured to me in conversations with my parents. I had a similar revelation as I have in my column about how I didn't achieve nearly as much as I set out to do, and they tried to comfort me and do everything nice, kind parents would do when it sounds like their kid could be down on himself. But I really wasn't down on myself. To that end there's a couple lines in the column, "By all accounts, I failed at Harvard-Westlake. Or at least I didn’t meet my expectations, which if you’re keeping score at home just so happens to be the same as failing."

What I mean by that is I'm not sad, mad or down on myself. I'm just acknowledging the truth, my truth, my reality. This is what I think I'll see when I look back at my high school experience later in life. Or at least, this is what I see now. I was a tremendous success in elementary school at Valley Beth Shalom. And I planned to continue in that path at Harvard-Westlake. But I didn't. So now I'd like to acknowledge that and admit that that's an ok way to be because I learned.... I learned that you learn more from failure than success? No doesn't ring right. Although that's probably true. Failure leads to more introspection than success. Success leads to celebration, glory and victory. Not really the same as introspection.

But still that's not what I learned because I don't think I ever really applied myself wholly and completely to any of my failings. Or to most of them. Had I and still failed, I think I would've had a lot to learn and probably learned it. But I knew I wasn't applying myself, which just allowed me to shrug off every failure, no matter how painful, and just tell myself that next time I would apply myself and succeed beyond my wildest imagination. So why waste time and take stock of yourself after this failure? Success is around the next corner. Optimism. Only skin deep.

Back to Microsoft Word in hopes of some stunning realization hitting me, before I hit the green bean bag to my right. (That's hit in terms of 'hitting the sack' and not angry frustration, although there will be a little bit of both tonight).

D. A. Alpert


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Le Petit Prince said...


So, I found your blog from your shameless plug in chronicle and I just wanted to say Hi. I, too, intend to keep a blog on my gap year, so, obviously, I think it's a good idea. Your year sounds super-exciting...Have a fabulous time! See you in the class of 2013 :-)

~ Becca